Letter to My Colleagues about My Mental Illness

June 12, 2016 / Danei Edelen  / 
Letter to my colleagues about my mental illness

I still remember driving to work for my first day at the first job after my psychotic break. I was so scared. The night before I had laid out all my clothes and taken my shower to be as ready as possible. I got up extra early to have time to “just be ready”. My mental illness caused the psychotic break two years earlier. Since then, I have been rebuilding myself, overcoming a gauntlet of “first” fears.

My mental illness and my psychotic break

My psychologist explained to me that having a psychotic break is like having a psychological house with a cracked foundation. In addition, there’s a pit underneath your house. So, when the foundation breaks, your entire psychological house falls down into the pit and breaks into a thousand pieces.

Picking up the pieces

Well, my house fell into that pit, and it fell far, shattering my whole world. As if you are experiencing a fit of Vertigo, eyes dilated, attempting to pick up the pieces of this abstract puzzle. Among the pieces, you find a few which look ominously familiar: the corner pieces of your puzzle.

  1. Grieving the loss of your own identity
  2. Acting as an experimental guinea pig for doctors, who seem to be playing Russian Roulette to find the right cocktail of medications for you
  3. Opinionated friends telling you, “Now that you are home, why don’t you clean out those closets you never had time for!”
  4. Family unsure of how to act around you, not knowing how to best support you

It’s my job to put myself back together again. After my break, working full-time again was my goal. I was so afraid that my whole brain would turn to “French blue cheese” filled with striated blue mold, rendering it useless. I was afraid that I had lost my intellect, my creativity, my ability to write, and the power to communicate with others. But my puzzle is nowhere near being complete.

My “First” fears

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